The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Tag: hotels

Stepping into the Shoes of a Guest Room Attendant

IMG_3601 2At The Service Companies, we value our associates because we understand they are what make us great. Our Guest Room Attendants across the country work tirelessly each day to deliver on our company’s promise and create the best possible experience for guests. It is important to us that at no matter what level, property or department, our whole team contributes to a strong culture and works toward a common goal. Recently, our Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Matt Sanfilippo, visited one of our luxury casino hotel properties in Laughlin, Nevada, where he spent the day working as a GRA. Read below about his experience and what he learned.

Which property did you visit?

I visited one of our luxury casino hotel properties in Laughlin, Nevada.

What position did you fill in on?

I was a Guest Room Attendant in the Housekeeping Department for the day – I worked with another GRA, Latosha Jackson.

What was your schedule like for the day?

The schedule was intense. We were expecting a very busy day with many early arrivals. The house had to be turned by 4pm to accommodate the influx of new guests. On top of that, there were a large number of VIP guests flying in for a concert at the property that night.

Did you receive training?

I did receive training, but for me it was strictly on the job, bootstrap style. We had a mission to get the house turned. I stripped the rooms and made the beds. Latosha took care of the bathroom and vacuumed.

What were your observations about the culture of the department/property?

I was concerned as I drove down to Laughlin from Las Vegas that the day was going to be intense with the momentous task that had to be completed. However, upon arrival, I was delighted to find that the staff was upbeat and positive about the challenge they had ahead of them. The culture is one of respect for co-workers and leaders. Latosha, the GRA I was working with for the day, loves her job (and does it well). Everyone embraces Project Director Alan Ching, who has done a fantastic job of shifting the work environment at the property.   

I took this opportunity to learn what motivated the employees to come to work each day.  I found that it’s the culture, the way they are treated, and the camaraderie that is shared throughout the team. They appreciate working in an environment where they are respected by their peers and managers, and feeling like they’re a part of something bigger. The associates are truly hospitality people and love giving service to our guests.  

What did you learn or take away from this experience?

The job of a Guest Room Attendant is very difficult.  It’s hard to imagine what cleaning eighteen rooms looks and feels like until you do it. The physical component is demanding. Mattresses are heavy. Linen is sometimes turned inside out. You question why a bed needs four pillows. Why do they need so many sheets? I attempted to leave each room in the condition that I would expect if I were a guest at the property.  

The experience was impactful and humbling because it gave me the opportunity to experience what all those terms I typically hear on conference calls mean. Turning the house means you are not leaving until all rooms are cleaned. A board is your roadmap through the day for your housekeeping experience. A Do Not Disturb sign is a happy sight when you’re close to the finish line. Make friends with a Houseperson, they can be life savers.

I have a ton of respect for our Housekeepers throughout the country. It’s definitely one of the hardest jobs out there!

 

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

How We Prepare for the Spring and Summer

Although Mother Nature seems to be confused this year regarding which season it is, summer is finally on its way. With schools beginning to let out for summer break, our luxury hotel properties across the country are increasing in occupancy, specifically with family travelers.

Opening Day WP 1Last month, The Service Companies completed our Annual Spring Cleaning Event, during which our teams cleaned and organized all back of the house areas, including offices, break rooms, storage areas and more. This was our initial step in preparing for the upcoming busy season. Maintaining a well organized back of the house area sets us up for success, as we are then able to quickly identify items needed and alleviate hiccups in service delivery.

jack_cinciAs we further prepare for the summer season, we focus on and place additional effort in stocking up on equipment and supplies, ensuring our staff is full, and providing refresher training to our teams so they are ready for the influx of guests. This includes making sure our teams are equipped with enough linens and amenities to accommodate each room and adjusting as needed. For example, a higher number of families requires us to need more towels than usual. Additionally, property information will be reviewed in our mandatory training meetings before each shift, as an increase in traffic will result in an increase in guest questions.

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While we are spending time preparing for the upcoming summer months, we can’t look too far forward. In May, not only are we stocking up for a busy season, we are celebrating Mother’s Day. We may not be able to give every associate who is a mother the day off, but we can ensure all team members can leave on time or early by making small adjustments to our schedule. Managers also celebrate with pre-shift activities to let everyone know they are appreciated, and to thank them for spending their special day working hard to service our guests.

What to consider when hiring newly displaced workers from Puerto Rico

As a result of Hurricane Maria, the United States, particularly Florida, has seen a large influx of Puerto Rican refugees looking for work. This could be great news for the hospitality industry which, with the unemployment rate reported at 4.1% in October and November and the difficulty securing workers through the H2B visa program, has struggled to find labor to fill housekeeping, public area cleaning and stewarding positions.What should the executive teams of hotels and casinos with understaffed departments be taking into consideration as they look to hire from this group of over 200,000 individuals?

First, hiring from this pool of workers is costly. Hotels and casinos must be aware that they will be incurring costs from the recruitment and onboarding processes as well as ongoing fees associated with insurance. Recruitment costs will include background checks, drug tests and e-verification in addition to travel costs to attend job fairs, and relocation and lodging fees for the new hires.

Once hired, these new associates go through the onboarding and training process. While this varies from property to property, at The Service Companies, each of our associates completes a 30-day training program for any of our fully managed services including housekeeping, EVS and Stewarding. The costs that result from training can be high. In 2016, in conjunction with Navigate Corporation, a premier management consulting firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Service Companies took a deep dive to understand the drivers of associate retention and engagement. During this study, we saw that onboarding a new associate could cost thousands of dollars. Depending on how short staffed a hotel or casino is, just the onboarding costs could quickly and easily surpass $10,000 with only a few new hires. On top of this, add the costs for medical and dental benefits, general liability and workers compensation insurance, which will continue throughout the associate’s tenure at the property.

It takes a well-capitalized company or property to be able to successfully recruit this new influx of workers. Located across the country, The Service Companies, the one-stop-shop for managed, staffing and specialty services to the hospitality and gaming industry, is one of the few with the capital and experience (over 30 years) to take on this responsibility. With our turn-key housekeeping, public area/EVS cleaning and stewarding model, we assume full accountability of a hotel or casino’s most challenging departments, handling recruiting, background, drug and e-verification checks, training and insurance. No other company has the same resources, experience or nationwide presence. To learn more, visit www.theservicecompanies.com.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Keeping rooms clean and fresh this Spring and beyond

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Spring is right around the corner, and many of us look forward to opening our windows and letting some fresh air in. Hotel rooms can be extra challenging where many rooms are sealed tight all year long.

Housekeeping plays a significant role in keeping the guest areas clean and fresh. Following the basic cleaning standards is a great start, though there are additional practices that will help along the way no matter what hinders the process. Each of your guests should enjoy a pleasant room experience with no sign of a previous guest. Having these processes in place can greatly impact your rooms for the better and create a lasting impression with our guests.

We have created our own list of additional practices to employ. To download your copy of Spring Season Cleaning Tips, fill out your information below.

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Laurie Katinos is one of the leading hospitality operations directors. Her expertise in housekeeping operations spans over 20 years, with the majority of her time spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and The Service Companies. Her knowledge and operations savvy has contributed to The Service Companies becoming the unrivaled provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services in the hospitality industry.